By CHRISTEN LANIER
KENNESAW, Ga. – Kennesaw State University received approval from the Board of Regents in the fall of 2012 for construction of a new student recreation center set to open fall 2014.
Renovations on the current 55,000 square foot facility will begin when the center closes April 1. The renovations will extend the facility by 121,000 square feet and will include many new amenities available to the entire student body.
The current two-story recreation center, built in 1967, is located across from the university’s campus green. At present, it contains equipment for strength training, cardiovascular activity, a two-court gymnasium, group exercise classes, equipment check out and seminar rooms for wellness programs.
Hardin Construction Company will contract the $38.7 million project, which Hughes Group Architects provided.
“The majority of funding will come from student fees,” said facility manager Andrew Means. “However, there may be organizations willing to provide some funding as well. That is still in the works.”
There will be no other facilities available to students while the center is closed. However, the center is set to reopen in phases while renovations take place. The first section will reopen in May 2013.
According to Jerome Ratchford, vice president for student success, students today choose universities based on the quality of the sports and recreation centers. Hopes for the new center are to provide a state of the art facility to students that contain a variety of exciting and dynamic recreation opportunities. The project will hopefully enhance campus life at Kennesaw State by supporting recruitment and retention efforts while contributing to student success.
“I find the new facility interesting and beneficial. I love the gym we currently have. It is a great place with a great atmosphere,” said KSU student and frequent user of the gymnasium, Clifton Holliday. “Though I enjoy all the current amenities, I look forward to seeing what’s to come. However, being that I am a senior, I am pretty jealous of what the underclassmen will get to experience with the new facility.”
The new center will include natural light throughout, and adjustable lighting that will accommodate specific activity needs at different hours of the day. Another important change to the center is the reduced power consumption through a computer controlled energy management system. This system will provide more air movement through the recreation areas.
Many of the changes are in response to student surveys conducted in 2009 and 2010 by Kennesaw State’s Department of Sports & Recreation, which stated the changes students would like to see to the current recreation center.
Cardiovascular equipment, indoor jogging and walking, weight machines, free weights, group fitness, recreational swimming, lap swimming, and mind-body instructional classes were top priorities mentioned by students.
“Renovations will address the concerns of students and add an expanded fitness area, three basketball courts, a multipurpose gym, rock wall, overhead running track over facility, three racquet ball courts, volleyball court, an outdoor basketball court, tennis courts, and rooms for student organizations to meet,” Means said.
Holliday feels this is a step in the right direction for the university.
“This along with many other changes taking place at Kennesaw State are just a few of the things I feel are going to improve the school and make it a more competitive university,” said Holliday.